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Social entrepreneurs, those organizations and individuals who work to improve major social issues, don't have the networks and financial systems of traditional entrepreneurs, Sally Osberg, president of the Skoll Foundation told a Stanford MBA audience. Like Ginger Rogers dancing in a 1940's musical, they face the same issues as traditional entrepreneurs, but must do it backwards in high heels.

Resource: News Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2011

In August 2010 the US government closed ShoreBank, one of the country’s leading social enterprises. Why did ShoreBank fail? And what lessons can be learned from its 37-year record of innovation?

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2011

A new study finds that nonprofits are not becoming more commercialized.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2011

The moral legitimacy of a new market can come as much from how you sell something as from exactly what you’re selling.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article

Jane Chen, MBA '08, is co-founder and CEO of Embrace, a nonprofit company dedicated to creating low-cost portable incubators to save the lives of low birthweight babies in developing countries. The Embrace infant warmer was launched in India in the spring of 2011 she told the annual Women in Management banquet at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Resource: News Article

Social entrepreneurs, those organizations and individuals who work to improve major social issues, don't have the networks and financial systems of traditional entrepreneurs, Sally Osberg, president of the Skoll Foundation told a Stanford MBA audience. Like Ginger Rogers dancing in a 1940's musical, they face the same issues as traditional entrepreneurs, but must do it backwards in high heels.

Resource: News Article

Jane Chen, MBA '08, is co-founder and CEO of Embrace, a nonprofit company dedicated to creating low-cost portable incubators to save the lives of low birthweight babies in developing countries. The Embrace infant warmer was launched in India in the spring of 2011 she told the annual Women in Management banquet at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Resource: News Article

Authors Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith explain how to harness the power of social media to achieve social change in their book The Dragonfly Effect.

Resource: News Article

Chase Your Dream Skoll Advises Class of 2010 "Define your dream and chase it with as much rigor and authenticity as you can muster," entrepreneur and philanthropist Jeff Skoll advised Stanford Graduate School of Business 2010 graduates.

Resource: News Article

Project Redwood, a new venture philanthropy fund of the Stanford GSB Class of 1980, has distributed $400,000 over the past 3 years to organizations that use entrepreneurial approaches to fight poverty.

Resource: News Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Winter 2011

Social network and professional network combined: a low-income neighborhood works together to meet the needs of the community in an environmentally responsible way.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2010

Social intrapreneurs—change agents already working deep within business—are the answer for business’s woes.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2010

Three types of leadership are needed to build a successful organization.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2010

With these seven levers, social entrepreneurs can foster change in everything from affordable housing to child welfare to poverty alleviation.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2010

Throughout history, acts of hatred have plagued communities and dominated media attention. The website Not In Our Town is working to combat that by broadcasting anti-hate stories and campaigns.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article

Better practices in disaster relief involve market-orientated nonprofit organizations, or social-mission-orientated, for-profit companies, playing a more prominent role.

Resource: Blog Post

How do you assess the ability and willingness of the poor to pay for products and services that do not already exist, and how do you convince companies to take a risk on such a vast and fragmented market?

Resource: Blog Post

Let’s keep holding the government accountable.

Resource: Blog Post

Using existing microfinance institutions and recent developments in the carbon credit markets on the supply side to facilitate the adoption of clean energy for the very poor.

Resource: Blog Post

Foundations, listen up: Venture capital firms are making it easier than ever for entrepreneurs to get seed money.

Resource: Blog Post
Video/Audio : All | Audio | Video
[photo - Picture: Wyatt]

Businesses, nonprofits and government agencies increasingly are embracing design thinking to solve social problems. The reason? Design thinking is inherently human centered. In this audio lecture, Jocelyn Wyatt, who directs social innovation projects at the design and consulting firm IDEO, describes how design thinking can be employed in the developing world to address the needs of people who consume a product or service and the infrastructure that enables it.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Picture: Lee]
Though the resources may be adequate in the Philippines, 13 million people do not have access to clean and safe water due to issues of infrastructure. In this audio interview, Stanford Center for Social Innovation correspondent Sheela Sethuraman talks with A Single Drop for Safe Water (ASDSW) Executive Director Kevin Lee, the 2010 Tech Award winner in the Equality category. He shares their social entrepreneurship model prioritizing effective water and sanitation systems in communities.
Resource: Audio
[photo - Sara Chamberlain]

"People can learn from mobile phones," says Sara Chamberlain, Head of Interactive for BBC World Trust and developer. She launched BBC Janala to "raise the language skills of 25 million people in Bangladesh by 2017". She speaks with host Sheela Sethuraman about how 3 million people already started learning English with in some cases the most basic handsets. According to Chamberlain, making English accessible affordably could be "a ticket out of poverty" for the people of Bangladesh.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Picture: Mannar]

A breakthrough for global health: double fortified salt has been recognized as a social innovation that delivers small but crucial daily amounts of iodine and iron to individuals at a very low cost. In this audio interview, Stanford Center for Social Innovation correspondent Sheela Sethuraman talks with Venkatesh Mannar, 2010 Tech Award winner in Health, as he shares his process of bringing this innovation from lab to market, with the potential to reach billions of people worldwide.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Picture: Shea]

Got a great business idea? Consider taking it to Chile, where the government is now offering $40,000 grants and one-year visas to help early-stage entrepreneurs develop their companies, through a program called Start-Up Chile. In this audio interview, Stanford Social Innovation correspondent Ashkon Jafari talks with Nicolas Shea, innovation advisor to the Chilean minister of economy, about the program's genesis, goals, and progress so far.

Resource: Audio
[Video-What Does It Take to Get Off the Ground?]

Have you ever thought about launching your own social venture? This panel discussion brings together people from both sides of the "start-up" fence—those who started with large financial backing and those who had none.

Resource: Video
[Video-Reducing Global Poverty]

From  disease control to global climate change, innovative business people are designing sustainable solutions to promote international development and reduce global poverty. Hear how this is happening from leaders in the field.

Resource: Video
[Video-Value Creation]

The nonprofit sector delivers social value and the for-profit sector delivers economic value, right? Wrong! Jed Emerson argues that value is nondivisible, whole, and blended. He invites us to think beyond philanthropy, corporate social responsibility, social enterprise, and other limiting mindsets.

Resource: Video
[Video-Evaluating Social Venture Ideas]

Three social-venture experts share the process and tools they use to evaluate the impact and viability of aspiring change-makers' ideas. A must hear for anyone planning to start a social or environmental enterprise.

Resource: Video
[Video-Social Entrepreneurs Invent the Future]

Can businesses deliver strong returns to shareholders while also promoting the health of people and the planet? Gary Hirshberg, the phenomenally successful pioneer of the organic foods industry, utters a resounding yes.

Resource: Video

World demand for water is likely to continue to outpace population. In this panel discussion, experts talk about how this troubling environmental sustainability issue offers a rare opportunity for cleantech entrepreneurs. Our search for sustainable water offers lessons that may help others facing similar large-scale challenges such as world demand for energy. The event was part of the MIT-Stanford Venture Lab Series.

Resource: Audio
[Video-Innovative Design Saves Tiny Lives]

Jane Chen, MBA '08, has a vision of a place “babies no longer die from being cold, where people no longer die from preventable causes. And where every person has the ability to choose [his or her] own fate.”

Resource: Video
[photo - Picture: Chong]
Catchafire is a New York City-based, for-profit social mission business that matches professionals who want to give their skills to nonprofits and social enterprises that need their help. In this audio interview, CEO and founder Rachael Chong speaks with host Ashkon Jafari about the ins and outs of the organization, from its founding, to its funding, to how it finds "matches."
Resource: Audio
[photo - Picture: Wyatt]

Businesses, nonprofits and government agencies increasingly are embracing design thinking to solve social problems. The reason? Design thinking is inherently human centered. In this audio lecture, Jocelyn Wyatt, who directs social innovation projects at the design and consulting firm IDEO, describes how design thinking can be employed in the developing world to address the needs of people who consume a product or service and the infrastructure that enables it.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Picture: Lee]
Though the resources may be adequate in the Philippines, 13 million people do not have access to clean and safe water due to issues of infrastructure. In this audio interview, Stanford Center for Social Innovation correspondent Sheela Sethuraman talks with A Single Drop for Safe Water (ASDSW) Executive Director Kevin Lee, the 2010 Tech Award winner in the Equality category. He shares their social entrepreneurship model prioritizing effective water and sanitation systems in communities.
Resource: Audio
Case Studies : All | Academic Cases
No Results Found
[photo - Embrace]

While at Stanford, the Embrace team developed an idea for an infant warmer to help low-birth-weight-infants. As designed, the warmer was small and light, transportable, and easy to use, and had the potential to be produced at a fraction of the cost of available incubators. The team decided to pursue their idea by creating a nonprofit called Embrace Global to further develop and commercialize the technology. Through discussion with its board of directors and other advisors, the team thought transitioning from a prototype to a market-ready product would require funding and considered equity investments. However, the team realized in using private investors, it could be more difficult to justify targeting market segments who are considered small commercially. This mini-case study explores how Embrace decided to pursue a hybrid structure and steps to balance competing priorities in a new model.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Design that Matters]

Incubators can prevent infant deaths from hypothermia, shorten hospital stays, and reduce the rate of neonatal complications that can lead to lifelong illness and disability. Unfortunately, they are far too expensive for many resource-constrained settings, particularly developing countries. Design that Matters (DtM) partnered with CIMIT to develop a concept incubator that was uniquely suited to the context of a developing country, made with parts already abundant in the environment. The results was NeoNurture. Although NeoNurture was never brought to the market, the process of developing this product introduced important insights about designing contextually appropriate projects. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - IDRI]

The Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) was founded by immunologist Steve Reed in 1993 as a nonprofit global health research center. The institute was distinguished by its emphasis on the practical end goal of getting its products to market. To accomplish this, IDRI drew on distinct competencies of diverse collaboration. IDRI needed a substantial, ongoing stream of funding in order to continue realizing results. However, as a nonprofit, they could not tap into venture capital funding like private firms. These funding constraints made sustaining the company challenging and limited its strategic growth. This case study describes how Reed devised a model to create a for-profit development arms to commercialize select IDRI vaccine.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - KickStart]

Fisher and Moon founded KickStart to design tools that would enable Africa’s poor to launch and sustain their own profitable businesses. The organization’s first product was a line of manually operated irrigation pumps — branded “MoneyMaker Pumps” — that would help subsistence farmers transform their farms into profitable family businesses. The KickStart team believed that to be sustainable, its products had to be affordable and enable farmers to realize return on their investment within a relatively short period. This mini-case study explores this approach and how KickStart structures its business to provide enduring solutions.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - KickStart]

KickStart was founded to design tools that would enable Africa’s poor to launch and sustain profitable businesses. Its first product was a line of manually operated irrigation pumps — branded “MoneyMaker Pumps” — that would help subsistence farmers transform their farms into profitable family businesses. When the first MoneyMaker pumps were brought to market, they were accepted by rural African farmers as affordable, versatile, durable, easy to maintain, and culturally appropriate. However,  KickStart subsequently faced significant challenges manufacturing MoneyMaker pumps in sufficient volumes and at a reasonable cost. This mini-case study examines how KickStart addressed these challenges to established high quality, affordable manufacturing for the long term.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - KickStart]

KickStart was founded by Martin Fisher and Nick Moon to design tools that would enable Africa’s poor to launch and sustain profitable businesses. Its first product was a line of manually operated irrigation pumps—branded “MoneyMaker Pumps”—that would help subsistence farmers transform their farms into profitable family businesses. When KickStart was ready to launch its MoneyMaker pumps, it faced the challenge of how to effectively reach and market the products to target consumers in Kenya, Tanzania, and Mali. In these regions, average farmers and their families are physically isolated and have few resources; because of this, it is likely purchasing a KickStart product may be the most expensive purchase they will ever make. Moreover, many farmers understand little about pump technology and cultural norms prevent the use of word-of-mouth sales and 'viral marketing' to promote the product. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - KickStart]

KickStart was founded by Martin Fisher and Nick Moon to design tools that would enable Africa’s poor to launch and sustain profitable businesses. Its first product was a line of manually operated irrigation pumps — branded “MoneyMaker Pumps” — that would help subsistence farmers transform their farms into profitable family businesses. Since its inception, KickStart had sold more than 180,000 MoneyMaker pumps. Despite these encouraging sales figures, the company still faced the critical questions that confronted every social enterprise: What was the actual impact of the product on the people it was intended to help? This mini-case study describes how the KickStart team developed a rigorous yet realistic approach to measuring and understanding the impact of its interventions.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - PlayPumps]

Trevor Field, a retired British businessman and outdoor advertising executive, was deeply moved when he observed women and and girls in rural villages of South Africa shouldering the daily burden of collecting water. When he became aware  of a technology that was meant to serve as both a children's merry-go-round and community water pump, he founded Roundabout Outdoor to manufacture, install, and maintain the product known as PlayPump. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Maternova]

Maternova was founded in 2009 as a mission-driven for-profit organization with two main objectives: (1) to provided online knowledge platform that would allow health workers, innovators, and individuals working in the field to track tools and with the potential to save lives in childbirth, and (2) to bundle and sell a select number of low-cost tools to equip frontline health workers to do their jobs more effectively.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Cycle Beads]

To help address the issue of unplanned pregnancy and maternal mortality in the developing world, researchers at the University of Georgetown's Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH) recognized the need for an intitutive, natural contraception method that could meet the needs of families that chose not to use medical or surgical alternatives. IRH developed the Standard Days Method (SDM), a simple family planning system, as well as CycleBeads to provide a tangible tool to help women follow the method. IRH was met with resistance and this case studies examines how the strategy used by the team to overcome market resistance.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - AdaptAir]

In resource constrained settings, bubble CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is emerging as a more affordable treatment option for children with acute respiratory infections. However, some healthcare providers cannot ensure a tight seal between the infant's nose and mask which compromises the effectiveness of this approach. AdaptAir team developed a silicone adapter as a potential low-cost alternative. Despite the new product, AdaptAir encountered challenges when attempting to commercialize the device in the market. This case explores the challenges AdaptAir faced in determining its next steps and the lessons the teams learned about creating an accessory versus a stand-alone product.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Consure Medical I]

After watching a colleague struggle with the care of his mother when she was affected by fecal incontinence, the Consure Medical team began investigating this problem as a potential need to address. Even though the team had a broad concept of the need it would address, they soon realized it would require more research to make the need actionable. This case study looks at how the Consure team determined which market to address and how challenges in design requirements to aid product development. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Consure Medical II]

Consure Medical is committed to developing a solution that involves the problems inherent in existing fecal incontinence treatments yet is simple enough for a motivated family member to use. With guidance from top doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the team developed an indwelling device similar to a short-term implant that offered multiple advantages over available treatment options. With a working product in hand, the cofounders’ next challenge was to determine a testing strategy that would validate the safety and efficacy of the device and support the company’s regulatory strategy. This mini-case study looks at the factors Consure Medical considered in defining a plan, as well as the approach the company ultimately defined.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - PSI]

Population Services International (PSI) was founded in 1970 as a nonprofit organization focused on improving reproductive health in developing countries using commercial marketing strategies. As part of ongoing efforts to provide critical health services in developing countries, PSI sought to address the high unmet demand for family planning in Pakistan. PSI learned that the financial incentives were low and that few providers actually had the training to counsel clients. The case study describes how PSI devised and implemented a social franchising model to rapidly address these needs and achieve scale in the target communities.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - LifeStraw]

Vestergaard Frandsen (VF) is a for-profit company that operates under a humanitarian entrepreneurship business model. The company’s leading products include PermaNet long-lasting insecticidal nets and LifeStraw water filters. VF was convinced that its LifeStraw Family product could make an immediate and significant difference in addressing the safe water needs of households in developing countries. The challenge was how to make it affordable for its target audience. While VF considered its options, CEO Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen decided to launch an integrated campaign to help prevent the spread of malaria, diarrheal disease, and HIV in Western Kenya.Witnessing the success of the program, the Kenyan government asked VF to scale it up across the Western Province. However, identifying traditional forms of funding for point-of-use water filters at scale remained a challenge.

Resource: Academic Case
Research Papers : All
[photo -  J. Gregory Dees]

This seminal paper defines the term social entrepreneurship and helps shape, what was in 1998, the nascent field of social entrepreneurship.

Resource: Research Paper
Courses : All
[photo - Jennifer Aaker]

The goal of this seminar is to investigate how social technology (e.g., blogs, websites, podcasts, widgets, community groups, social network feeds) can change attitudes and behaviors in ways that cultivate social change. We study the strategies and tactics used by companies and causes that have successfully catalyzed social persuasion.

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - Rick Aubry]

This course focuses on the efforts of private citizens to create effective responses to social needs and innovative solutions to social problems. It equips students with frameworks and tools that will help them be more effective as a social entrepreneur.

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - Jane Wei]

This course explores the challenges and opportunities related to social entrepreneurship. Students study nonprofit, for-profit, and hybrid organizational forms, and examine issues from a variety of perspectives, including that of entrepreneur, CEO, funder, and board member.

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - Jim Patell]

Students apply engineering and business skills to design product prototypes, distribution systems, and business plans for entrepreneurial ventures in developing countries. The aim is to address challenges faced by the world's poor.

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - Debra Meyerson]

This course is designed to help students understand and manage human systems, exercise leadership, and work effectively with other people, specifically within the context of culturally diverse groups and organizations. The underlying premise is that diversity can present unique challenges and opportunities.

Resource: MBA Course
Innovators : All
[photo - Federico Lozano]

Federico Lozano is working to alleviate poverty by connecting poor, semi-skilled laborers from the developing world with jobs in the developed world.

Resource: Fellow

Robert Keith and Carl Palmer are restoring and protecting ecologically important properties in the West. They're earning market-rate returns for their effort.

Resource: Alumni

Sam Goldman is bringing cutting-edge technologies to rural families all over the world. His passionate goal is to help them improve their standard of living.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Peter Hero]

Peter Hero has been helping philanthropists make a social impact for two decades. He's now inspiring students to get involved in social entrepreneurship.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Katherine Boas]

Katherine Boas created the Barefoot MBA curriculum with her classmate Scott Raymond while a student in the Stanford MBA program. Her ambition? To teach the world’s poorest entrepreneurs the basic business skills they need to make better decisions with their microloans.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Vivek Garg]

An Indian army vet builds business relationships across battle lines in conflict-torn Kashmir and Northeast Indian villages.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Palace of Congress in Buenos Aires]

How Fundación RAP builds bridges across party lines.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Ned Breslin]

Ned Breslin, CEO of Water For People, tells us where he draws his inspiration from and where he gets his perspective on social change from – punk rock. In the first episode of his “Social Disruptors” series, Ned argues that the story arc of punk, its relentless push for change, offers important insights into how social entrepreneurs operate everywhere, whether they like punk rock or not.

Resource: Audio

Being an innovator is never easy. But tackling the needs of underserved patients and healthcare providers in developing countries can be especially difficult. The idiosyncrasies of the healthcare sector, the contextual barriers found in resource-constrained environments, and the already-difficult-to-implement innovation process, make entrepreneurship in global health time consuming, expensive, and risky. 

Resource: News Article
[photo - PATH]

In late 2006, the PATH Safe Water Project received a $17 million grant form the global development unit of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Its purpose was to evaluate how market-based approaches could help accelerate the widespread adoption and sustained use of household water treatment and safe storage (HWTS) products among the world's poor. One key factor to consider in constructing its pilot studies was the affordability of HWTS products. This case study describes PATH's efforts to use consumer financing as a mechanism for making HWTS produce and supplies more accessible to its target market. 

Resource: Academic Case
Corner